THXP May 2011-0194Laos, a land of mountains, plateaus, valleys, forests and rivers, has long been recognised as a country with huge potential for hydropower. With its economic progress hindered by years of war and isolation in the twentieth century, Laos has in recent years begun to realise this potential and is using hydropower to help drive its development.

In 1996 the Lao Government set a poverty reduction goal, aiming to lift the country out of the UN's list of Least Developed Countries by 2020. The power sector has been allocated a central role in this ambition, and is tasked with meeting two national priorities: promotion of economic and social advancement through a reliable and affordable domestic power supply; and the earning of foreign exchange through electricity exports.

Access to electricity across Laos has increased from 16% in 1995 to 77% in 2012. Since 2008 electricity sales have accounted for over a third of all exports, even as exports of other products have risen significantly.

As a majority Lao-owned company and the first independent power producer in the country, THPC has played a major role in this progress. The success of the original Theun-Hinboun project convinced both the government and other investors of the feasibility of developing hydropower projects, and THPC remains committed to helping develop Laos's power potential in an efficient, socially sustainable and environmentally friendly way.